Barbie has kicked off 2023 with the launch a new doll made specifically for its littlest fans.
Barbie is an iconic toy beloved by people of all ages. However, after speaking with parents in 2020, Mattel learned that many are not introducing their preschool-aged children to the dolls for fear that they lack the fine motor skills needed to play with them independently.
That’s why the brand’s newest doll, called My First Barbie, is made specifically for preschool-aged children ages 3 and up. The new line of dolls and accessories have the same look and feel of other Barbie dolls, but are updated with larger accessories, easy-to-dress Velcro fashions and a larger, softer doll body made for smaller hands. The dolls are available in four skin tones.
Standing 13.5 inches tall, compared to the original Barbie height of 11.5 inches tall, the dolls also have more articulated arms and legs, closed hands, younger facial attributes and long rooted hair. Accessories include fashion packs, pets, a bedroom playset and a teatime playset.
The launch of My First Barbie is accompanied by the first-ever Barbie content dedicated to preschool-aged children, titled “My First Barbie: Happy DreamDay,” which will debut Jan. 31 on the Barbie YouTube channel.
The animated special follows Barbie and her friends as they prepare for a surprise party. Storylines highlight preschool themes of friendship and family, with simplified plots, original music and life lessons. The four main dolls featured in the special are Barbie “Malibu” Roberts, Barbie “Brooklyn” Roberts, Teresa and Renee.
“The launch of My First Barbie was born from insights we gained from parents, as we are always talking to families about what they are looking for to best suit their needs. Through this research, we discovered a whitespace. Parents had a desire to introduce their preschool-aged children to Barbie but were planning to wait until they were older with more developed dexterity,” Tasja Kirkwood, vice president of global consumer insights at Mattel, said in a statement. “This insight led to the exploration of the first Barbie doll designed specifically for preschool-aged children, enabling Barbie to reach even more parents and children with the Barbie system of play.”
While this is the first Barbie designed specifically for preschool-aged children, all Barbie dolls are approved for ages 3 and up, so you can gift one to a preschool-aged child.
Also, if you think you’ve seen Barbies named My First Barbie before, you’re not wrong. There have been other versions over the decades, including the My First Barbie from 1980; she was the same size as regular Barbie, but her skin was made of harder, smoother plastic and her knees and elbows were not bendable. This made it easier for children to slip on and take off her simpler clothing, which did not have snaps that needed to be fastened.
If you’re looking for something else specifically for preschool children, however, you’ll find dozens of dolls on Amazon made for ages 3 and up, like this Glitter Girls 14-inch Poseable Doll named Bluebell.
The Glitter Girls doll is priced at $13.59 right now off a regular price of $20.95. She has arms that bend at the elbows and rotate at the shoulders, and legs that bend at the knees and rotate at the hips. With nearly 6,000 reviews, the doll has a total rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Customers say it’s well-made and makes a great gift.
“My grandaughter is almost 5 and she loved these dolls. Beautiful hair, cute outfits and shoes and really pretty realistic eyes with eyelashes,” wrote Amazon customer The Happy MeMe, who gave the product five stars. “The arms and legs have a soft rubbery feel to them. I gave her two dolls and now she wants them all!”
Other preschool-aged dolls on Amazon include a $29.99 Glamour Girlz 14-inch Poseable Fashion Doll with a 4.5 out of 5-star rating from more than 100 customers, and the Kindi Kids Snack Time Friends Pre-School Play Doll. This one has more than 29,000 5-star reviews and an overall rating of 4.8 stars from more than 33,600 customers.
The Kindi Kids Marsha Mello doll has a head that bobbles and can “take a bite” out of the included cake pop. It’s priced at $24.99 on sale. You can also get other dolls in the collection including blue-haired Jessicake, green-haired Peppa-Mint and pink-haired Donatina.
If you’re looking for the right toy for your preschooler, you have options — Barbie is just one of them!